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For work I use my personal laptop and I am required to run Slack to keep in contact with coworkers however it occurs to me that this could potentially be used as an invasive surveillance tool unless it is forced to run in a sandbox.

For instance what if it were allowed to scan my file system, including any attached USB thumb drives, and what if it were allowed to take screenshots? What if there is a built-in keylogger? I need to make sure that this software is not being used for improper purposes. We all know how power can be abused, and how even a little bit of power over people can tempt a weak person to do bad things.

IIRC I downloaded it using the Mac App Store.

Questions:

Does anyone know how I can determine what the default sandbox setting of this app is?

If the app is bypassing the sandboxing mechanism how do I nevertheless enforce sandboxing?

Has anyone here managed to detect open files (using lsof on the command line) that Slack was accessing, that might indicate suspicious activity?

  • Welcome to Ask Different. It's good to be suspicious - but to answer your question, could you edit in what your knowledge of sandbox settings is? Are you looking to determine if the App is using any temporary exclusions or are you just looking for Apple's sandbox guidelines. – bmike Jan 21 '16 at 0:24
  • The last time that I submitted an app to the Mac App Store myself I do recall that there was an exception to get around the sandboxing. So far in my brief analysis of the .app directory, I cannot find the info that would tell me whether this app can bypass the sandboxing. – moop Jan 21 '16 at 1:05
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Slack is a well-known chatting tool and I am yet to hear it does any surveillance. Also, every single Mac app which is submitted into App Store after June 1 of 2012 must have sandboxing implemented or it won't be approved.

Additionally, no app is able to access your computer outside of its limits unless you give it your root password (Slack does not ask for it).

If you still don't feel safe, open Monitor application in Utilities, select Slack app in the list, press (i) button on the toolbar and select "open files and ports" tab. No file will go away.

All the above means that Slack already runs in the Sandbox. In theory (and I stress on "theory") sandbox can be bypassed, but I highly doubt such a serious company would do it first, and second - such app is very unlikely to be on the AppStore.

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    Indeed. Slack is a very respected piece of software at this time, and I've never heard even the slightest rumor that it can be used for surveillance. You're seriously fine, moop. – Timothy Mueller-Harder Jan 21 '16 at 16:53
  • But has anyone really tested that every aspect of the OS is properly sandboxed? Can a "sandboxed" program not just open the audio device like any non-sandboxed program? I'm skeptical. – moop Jan 21 '16 at 18:41

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